It looks like John McCain was right when he predicted that the US could safely remove troops from Iraq by the end of 2012. The US military is preparing to turn over security responsibility on Monday for Anbar province, arguably the most lawless, violent province in Iraq before the troop surge,
McCain was right on another count, too. He was critical from the outset of sending in a force to weak to do the job. Whatever his positions on other issues, he learned one vital lesson as a foot soldier in Congress during the Reagan Revolution – peace comes from strength. As Donald Rumsfeld is fond of saying, though apparently McCain understands it better, “Weakness is provocative.”
That may be the most important lesson of Iraq and one that certainly applies in other current situations: Georgia, Iran, China-Taiwan, North Korea. Strength brought success in Libya, partial success in North Korea, belated success in Iraq. Now is not the time for the US to adopt a policy of negotiation from weakness that amounts, in reality, to a policy of preemptive surrender. John McCain knows that. His opponent seems more interested in revisiting the Kumbayah foreign policy of Jimmy Carter.